A Tale of Two Retirees

Dec 19, 2023, 09:13 AM

In a previous edition of RetireeNews, we asked you to share your retirement stories. We received several submissions and hope to feature them all over time. This edition features the story of Leon Wahlbrink. 

I have a friend I’ll call C. We’re the same age. He grew up in a small town in Iowa and I in Missouri. We’re both the first of our family to get a college degree. We both raised families and were widowed. We both worked for corporations and were in business for ourselves. What we don’t have in common is I worked for the State of Missouri and got a pension. C has no pension.

I didn’t realize what a difference that made in our lives. A few years ago, it surfaced when I asked him if he’d be interested in going on a tour of New Zealand with me. C was interested but declined when interest rates dropped. It turns out that his retirement is based on certificates of deposit and with falling interest rates his income dropped.

C has taken an ultra-conservative approach with his investments because he is afraid he could outlive his income. I, on the other hand, secure in my knowledge that I certainly won't outlive my pension, invested in the market. I live comfortably on my pension and Social Security income, so anything I gain from my investments is gravy.

I’ve traveled through Europe, Central America, Africa, and China since I retired 20+ years ago. My investments have enabled that travel and, even with my required minimum distribution every year, I have a higher balance than when I retired. C’s certificates of deposit have, at the very best, kept up with inflation. Without question, they have not grown. It doesn’t matter how much C saved for his retirement, he was faced with the fact he could outlive his savings and took a much different approach to retirement than I did.

My point in sharing this is to express my appreciation of having a pension. It’s not a lot, as I only worked 13 years for the state, but it has given me a freedom that anyone who doesn’t have a pension should be envious of in their retirement.

Thank you, MOSERS!

We know that many of our retirees find new hobbies, travel, volunteer, find new passions, start businesses, and so much more in retirement. Now, we want to hear from you! Submit your retirement stories and we will feature you in our newsletters! You never know how your story may help or inspire other retired members.

How to Submit your Story:

  1. Write a summary of your retirement story. Let us know what you have been doing in retirement. This is your time to shine! Let us know of any cool hobbies, volunteering, travel, family, etc. (500 words or less) 
  2. Don’t forget to include any photos you would like to feature as well. 
  3. Send your story to us via email or mail!
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